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Guide to Every Attraction at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom

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Guide to Every Attraction at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is a hugely underrated park.

It’s a beautiful place with interesting things to see, impeccable theming and some fantastic attractions.

Here’s a guide to all Animal Kingdom rides and attractions to help you decide what to do when you visit.

UPDATE: Attraction closures

Several rides, shows, and character meets are temporarily unavailable due to current global events. These attractions have been noted below and we will continue to make updates as Disney releases additional information.

A quick overview

Animal Kingdom is the largest of all of the theme parks in terms of acres but has the least amount of attractions. The park icon is a big man-made tree called The Tree of Life.

As the park’s name implies, there are lots of live animal attractions here, but there are some good non-animal attractions as well (including the 2 best live shows in all of Disney World).

Let’s take a look at each section of Animal Kingdom and what attractions are located there.

New temporary entertainment

While several popular character meets and shows are unavailable, new temporary character experiences and shows have taken their place. Here is what to expect at Animal Kingdom:

  • Goofy and Pals Set Sail
  • Mickey & Friends Flotilla
  • Discovery Island Drummers
  • Discovery River Character Cruise
  • Donald’s Dino Boat Bash!
  • Feathered Friends in Flight – taking place in the theater that usually houses UP! A Great Bird Adventure, this altered show features a variety of birds but does not currently include Dug and Russell from Up

Find more information about these experiences, including when to see them, in our Complete Guide to Character Cruises in Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom rides and attractions

Africa

Kilimanjaro Safaris

Safari vehicles that are driven by guides who really do drive (no tracks) and they are very knowledgeable about the animals. As you go, the drivers give you lots of info based on what you see along the ride and sometimes have to stop to wait for animals to clear the path.

FP+ available? Yes
Height req.: None
Suitable for: Everybody
Recommended? Definitely
When to visit: 1st hour (or later with FastPass+)
Tips: Visit first thing in the morning after the park opens. Not only does the line get really long really fast but the animals do seem to be out more in the morning. The earlier you arrive at Animal Kingdom, the easier it will be to get on this ride without a wait.

Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

Walking tour that allows you to see birds, fish, gorillas and hippos.

Suitable for: Anybody
Recommended? Not a must-see unless you're trying to see lots of animals
When to visit: Anytime (this does close earlier than the park so make sure to check times when planning)
Tips: The trail entrance is near the exit to Kilimanjaro Safaris and consequently it can become quite busy (and HOT) during the middle of the day. If you'd like to walk the trail, try to get there early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the crowds and the heat.

Festival of the Lion King

This big, fun, Broadway-style show lasts for 30 minutes and is 1 of the best shows at Disney World. There is lots of music, dancing, stilt walkers and acrobats, featuring music and stories from The Lion King.

FP+ available? Yes
Suitable for: Everybody
Recommended? Absolutely
When to visit: Anytime, as scheduled
Tips: Check show times to see when it's scheduled, and show up 15-20 minutes beforehand, trying to sit near the front of a section for the best views.

Asia

Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain

Expedition Everest is a fantastic roller coaster and one of our favorite attractions in all of Disney World. It starts off like a pretty normal coaster and then stops and goes backward before heading forward again on a thrilling ride.

FP+ available? Yes
Height req.: 44
Suitable for: Coaster lovers. Although many kindergarten and 1st graders will be tall enough to ride, many get off of it visibly upset because it was way too intense for them. If your child is tall enough, make sure they're also ready for a big ride.
Recommended? Yes!
When to visit: 1st hour (or later with FastPass+)
Tips: Use a FastPass+ if you don't ride it first thing when the park opens. There is also a single rider option which would help people ride if they don't have a FastPass+ reservation.

Kali River Rapids

A river raft ride that has a very high chance of soaking you. The attraction itself isn't very long, but if it is pretty fun on a hot day.

FP+ available? Yes
Height req.: 38
Suitable for: Anybody who doesn't mind getting wet
Recommended? Yes, unless you hate being wet (have we mentioned that it gets you wet yet?)
When to visit: 2nd hour (or later with FastPass+)
Tips: Wear a poncho to avoid getting wet, and plan on using the free lockers nearby to store your belongings

Maharajah Jungle Trek

A walking path through "ruins" that allows you to see tigers, Komodo dragons, giant fruit bats and other exotic animals.

Height req.: None
Suitable for: Anybody
Recommended? Not a must-see but a good time-filler for animal lovers
When to visit: Anytime (this does close earlier than the park so make sure to check times when planning)
Tips: If you love tigers try to go early in the morning when the tigers will be more active.

UP! A Great Bird Adventure - Temporarily Unavailable

This entertainment experience (which replaced Flights of Wonder) offers guests the chance to see Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his furry friend Dug as they discover species of birds from around the world.

FP+ available? Yes
Height req.: None
Suitable for: Anybody
When to visit: Anytime, as scheduled
Tips: The earlier shows are typically the least busy.

Bollywood Beats - Temporarily Unavailable

Height req.: None
When to visit: Daily at 12:30, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, 5:30 & 6:30pm

DinoLand U.S.A.

DINOSAUR

This ride takes you on a rough ride through history where you see lots of dinosaurs along the way.

FP+ available? Yes
Height req.: 40
Suitable for: Bigger kids and adults
Recommended? Yes
When to visit: 2nd hour (or later with FastPass+)
Tips: If you're using Rider Switch, the Boneyard is nearby and is a good place to entertain little ones while the older people in your group ride.

TriceraTop Spin

Dumbo but with dinosaurs.

Height req.: None
Suitable for: Young kids
Recommended? No, unless you're just trying to kill time with little ones
When to visit: Anytime
Tips: It is easy to take multiple rides on here without much of a wait, especially early in the morning.

Finding Nemo - The Musical - Temporarily Unavailable

A Broadway-style show featuring super talented performers who sing and control puppet-type versions of the characters. Really great show and we feel like it keeps getting better.

FP+ available? Yes
Height req.: None
Suitable for: Anybody
Recommended? Yes, unless you have young kids who aren't into shows. We think everybody will like Festival of the Lion King because it's so high energy and fun. This one is great for people who tend to enjoy musicals.
When to visit: Anytime, as scheduled
Tips: You'll want to check the times guide for the show time and then show up about 15-20 minutes before a show begins. The best views are in the top, middle section.

Fossil Fun Games

Carnival games themed for this section.

Height req.: None
Suitable for: Anybody
Recommended? Just as a time killer if you're looking for something to do
When to visit: Anytime
Tips: Don't forget that if you win a prize you'll have to carry it around with you, so if you'd like to try your luck on the games consider playing right before you head out of the park.

The Boneyard

Play structure that's great for letting little ones run around and burn off some steam.

Height req.: None
Suitable for: Young children
Recommended? Not a must-see, but a great way to let cranky kids run around and not worry about being restrained in a stroller or standing in a line somewhere.
When to visit: Anytime (often opens an hour after the park)
Tips: This area usually opens an hour after the park does so don't plan to stop by until then. If you're using Rider Switch on a couple of nearby rides, this is a good place to entertain little ones while the older people in your group ride.

Donald Duck, Daisy Duck & Goofy (character meet) - Temporarily Unavailable

When to visit: 10:00am - 5:30pm

Pluto, Launchpad McQuack & Scrooge McDuck (character meet) - Temporarily Unavailable

Height req.: None
When to visit: 10:00am-5:30pm

Discovery Island

Discovery Island Trails

These trails go all around Discovery Island (hence the name, right?) and you have a chance to see Galapagos tortoises, African crested porcupines, lemurs and tamarins.

Height req.: None
Suitable for: Anybody
Recommended? Only if you have extra time and/or want to see as many animals as possible.
When to visit: Anytime
Tips: These trails can be extra hot during the middle of the day, so if you want to visit them aim for mornings or evenings.

It's Tough to be a Bug!

This 3D show is inside of the Tree of Life and features characters from "A Bug's Life." As you're looking at The Tree of Life from the front of the park, the entrance for this show is located just to the right side, near the paths that you'd take to DinoLand, U.S.A.

FP+ available? Yes
Height req.: None
Suitable for: Big kids and adults
Recommended? It's not a must-see, but it's a fun time-filler and a nice break from the heat.
When to visit: Anytime
Tips: Many families are drawn to this attraction because it's cool to be able to go inside the tree and the characters are from a kid-friendly movie, but we have to warn you that little ones often scream at this show. It's dark and there are scary parts that freak kids out, leaving everybody to sit in a theater with inconsolable tots.

Timon (character meet) - Temporarily Unavailable

Character meet

Height req.: none
Suitable for: Anybody
When to visit: 10:30am-2:00pm & 3:00pm-6:30pm

Russell & Dug (character meet) - Temporarily Unavailable

Height req.: None
When to visit: 10:00am-12:30pm & 1:30pm-5:00pm

Pocahontas (character meet) - Temporarily Unavailable

Height req.: None
When to visit: 9:00 - 6:00 pm

Meet Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost (character meet) - Temporarily Unavailable

FP+ available? Yes
Height req.: None
When to visit: Intermittently from 9:00am until 30 minutes prior to park closing

The Oasis

DiVine - Temporarily Unavailable

DiVine is a vine-covered character performed by a performance artist. She's mesmerizing to watch. Check the daily times guide so you know when to look for her.

Height req.: None
Suitable for: Everyone
Recommended? Yes
When to visit: As scheduled
Tips: If you arrive at Animal Kingdom before park opening, you can often catch her just to the right after entering the turnstiles for her first set of the day.

Rafiki's Planet Watch

Animation Experience

Learn how to draw favorite Disney characters and villains including Simba, Zazu, Scar, Pumbaa, Timon, Hopper, Tic Toc,, and others.

FP+ available? Yes
Height req.: None
When to visit: As scheduled
Tips: The pace of this mini-animation class may be frustrating for little ones. If you are traveling with somebody that doesn't wish to participate, the nearby petting area at Affection Section makes it easy for groups to split up.

Affection Section

A petting zoo area with animals like goats, sheep, donkeys, cows and pigs.

Height req.: None
Suitable for: Anybody
Recommended? No, unless you really want to see the animals here
When to visit: Anytime
Tips: The crowds out here are generally fairly light and there's lots of room outside of where the animals are kept to let little ones that have been riding in a stroller stretch their legs.

Conservation Station

A behind-the-scenes look at the care provided for the animals in the park. What you will see will vary depending on what's going on that day but could include watching surgeons operate on animals, experts presenting various wildlife and veterinarians who are available to answer questions.

Height req.: None
Suitable for: Anybody
Recommended? Only if your interest in seeing the animals being cared for is strong enough to justify the time it takes to get there and back.
When to visit: Anytime (opens 30 min. after park) - operates seasonally
Tips: This section opens 30 minutes after the rest of the park does. If operations are going to be performed that day, they are usually performed in the morning.

Habitat Habit!

Outdoor trails in the Rafiki's Planet Watch section where you can see cotton-top tamarins.

Height req.: None
Suitable for: Anybody
Recommended? No, unless animals are a focus
When to visit: Anytime (opens 30 min. after park) - operates seasonally but is expected to reopen Summer 2019
Tips: If you're looking for a real "trail" to explore and view animals, try the Maharajah Jungle Trek instead.

Wildlife Express Train

This train departs every 5-7 minutes (though lines to board the train can be lengthy) to take people to visit the Rafiki's Planet Watch section.

Height req.: None
Suitable for: Anybody
Recommended? Not unless you plan to spend time at the Conservation Station, the Affection Section or Habitat Habit.
When to visit: Anytime - operates seasonally
Tips: It sometimes takes 1.5 hours round trip so be aware of that before you board

Pandora

Na'vi River Journey

A gentle boat ride through the bioluminescent rain forest complete with a spectacular encounter with a Na’vi shaman.

Height req.: none
Suitable for: Anyone
Recommended? Yes, ride first thing in the morning or with FastPass+
Tips: Unlike Flight of Passage, this attraction is family-friendly and can be enjoyed by all.

Avatar Flight of Passage

Unlike any other attraction at Walt Disney World, guests mount their own "virtual banshee" to soar above the Valley of Mo'ara.

Height req.: 44
Suitable for: Guests 44" and taller and those that can handle rides that are simulator based.
Recommended? Yes. If you are tall enough and don't tend to get sick on simulator-based rides, this is one of the most unique attractions at Disney World and is definitely worth a try.
Tips: If you are prone to motion sickness, try riding in the middle of your row. The seats here are notorious for not being accommodating of all body types. If you are worried, there is a "test seat" outside of the queue that you can practice on. Be sure to lean in and slide your feet all the way forward as far as possible to maximize the seat and leg space.

Nighttime entertainment

Tree of Life Awakenings

At night you can watch the Tree of Life "awaken" and come to life with flickering fireflies and magical animals. This show uses the same projection technology as Celebrate the Magic and has 4 different shows that rotate through the evening.

Height req.: None
Suitable for: Anybody
Recommended? Yes
When to visit: As scheduled (nighttime entertainment). The last one takes place 15 minutes after park closing.
Tips: Since a new show starts approximately every 10 minutes this is easy to catch on your way out and is a perfect end to an Animal Kingdom visit.

Dining at Animal Kingdom

We have a dining guide below to help you decide on dining options at Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom ridesThe pros and cons of all Animal Kingdom restaurants
There are a few great places to eat at Animal Kingdom, including a character dining location that’s a good option when others seem to be fully booked up months in advance.

 

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